Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in the world. They commonly affect both eyes, and 60% of those people age 60 and older have at least one cataract. Our Yuma, Arizona, patients are often unaware that they are suffering from cataracts. It's helpful to understand what cataracts are and what causes them. At the Aiello Eye Institute, we help you make informed decisions about your care by carefully explaining the details of cataract surgery and treatments.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataracts or if you suspect that you have a vision problem, we encourage you to contact the Aiello Eye Insitute today to schedule a consultation. Request an appointment online or call (928) 782-1980 for an eye examination or to learn more about cataract surgery in Yuma, Arizona.
Dr. Aiello's unique combination of compassion and qualifications sets him apart as one of the leading ophthalmologists in the field.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in your eye, which sits behind the iris and the pupil. The lens helps focus light on the tissue at the back of the eye, called the retina. The retina changes the light into nerve signals sent to the brain.
To put it another way: If you think of the eye as a camera, the lens in your eye is equivalent to a camera lens. If you have a dirty camera lens, you will get a poor-quality picture.
Cataracts blur the images you see. There are 3 types of cataracts:
Cataracts sometimes develop so slowly that people may not realize their vision is becoming poorer. Dr. Aiello recommends looking at some of the paintings of the impressionist artist, Claude Monet, in the late 1880s and early 1900s. Monet developed cataracts soon after turning 65 (in 1905).
Looking at works he painted before and after that pivotal year, you will notice the result of his decreasing ability to see certain colors as his cataracts progressed. Monet complained of perceiving reds as "muddy, dull pinks" and other objects as yellow, which is consistent with the visual effects of cataract progression.
The lens of the eye is made up of water and proteins. The specific proteins of the eye are responsible for maintaining its clarity. Unfortunately, over many years of life, the proteins are altered due to the aging process which leads to the clouding or opacity of the eye lens.
In most cases cataracts are a result of the aging process, but there are some cases in which cataracts can be caused earlier in life. Other causes of cataracts include:
Cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery are very common procedures, and complications (if any) are rare and treatable. The surgery itself is highly successful in improving the vision of patients about 95% of the time.
Cataract surgery, with or without the aid of lasers, is an outpatient procedure that usually takes around 10 minutes to complete. Not all patients are appropriate candidates for laser cataract surgery. Dr. Aiello reviews your options during your first appointment, gathering information from you about your existing medical conditions, your specific concerns, and other factors. These then influence his recommendation for the best treatment plan.
When Dr. Aiello performs traditional cataract surgery, he makes a tiny incision and inserts a small probe. The device emits ultrasound waves to break up and liquefy the lens, which is then removed. Using the same incision, Dr. Aiello inserts an intraocular lens (IOL), which will serve as the new lens for your eye. There are several IOLs available; Dr. Aiello helps you make the best choice during your initial appointment.
The incision is so tiny that it typically doesn't require sutures, and the eye tissue seals itself afterward. This procedure takes about 10 minutes, and recovery is usually on the order of a week before returning entirely to normal.
During laser cataract surgery, rapid bursts of energy from a femtosecond laser break up cataracts. Femtosecond lasers are used in some LASIK procedures; they are designed to target cloudy tissue without damaging adjacent areas. Dr. Aiello creates a 3D image of the eye using specialized software and maps the location, depth, and length of the cataract.
The femtosecond laser makes incisions and, as in non-laser cataract surgery, an IOL is inserted. Recovery is similar to traditional cataract surgery, as well.
One of the most common questions we hear about both traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery is, "What is the recovery like?"
With either type of surgery, patients are surprised to learn that they can resume their normal activities within 24 hours of cataract surgery. Some patients have a bandage or patch over their eyes when they leave our practice. You should notice significant vision improvement about a day after the surgery.
Dr. Aiello provides detailed postoperative instructions, including specific information about medications to take. You should postpone engaging in strenuous activities for about a week. You can read or watch television immediately.